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 Forum index » Off-Topic Area » Programming
Android not exactly linux? what is the difference?
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nooby

Joined: 29 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Mon 21 Jun 2010, 11:51    Post subject:  Android not exactly linux? what is the difference?  

Android not exactly linux? what is the difference?

Can anybody having knowedlge describe what is so different about android.

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nooby

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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jul 2010, 08:09    Post subject:  

I've looked a bit further into it but I am a poor reader.

If I get it at all????? Android may make use of a linux kernel but have a proprietary overlay in same way as Apple have several such overlays of Unix like kernels?

Hm not sure if that was a good description.

So Android are "open" to develop for but hte owners of Andsroid owns some code that needs to be there to be Android approved?

That way Android is only free to develop for.

As users we are not free to be root? We can be shut out of being root in new versions due to update of Android OS

Exampel Huawei has the cheapest Android on the market here in Sweden.

There is not enough devs who feel for finding out how to do root so most likely there will never be any way to do root access on Huawei U8100.

Which makes me sad. I think it is a cute little phone. Smile

Sure I can afford to by a HTC desire or something costing 3 to 4 times more.

Why I don't buy Nokia N900? The micro USB is broken on very many of them. 6 month and the problem not solved for many users.

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Last edited by nooby on Tue 06 Jul 2010, 09:04; edited 1 time in total
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debrah.h48
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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jul 2010, 08:48    Post subject: Hello,  

The fact that Google and the OHA used the Linux kernel for its operating system is mutually beneficial for both Linux and Android. Linux is a powerful and stable kernel on which to build an operating system. And, of course, being open source means millions of eyes on the code, creating a better product. However, the mainstream consumer probably won’t care about that. Instead, they will take notice because it is backed by Google. Linux may have finally gotten the push it needs to take on Microsoft.
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nooby

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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jul 2010, 09:08    Post subject:  

OHA, I had no idea what that refers to www.openhandsetalliance.com

Okay.

Yes maybe it is good to have Google as a PR machine for Linux

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technosaurus


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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jul 2010, 14:21    Post subject:  

Unfortunately google essentially forked the kernel and didn't want to be bothered with making the many source code changes that will allow their changes to be reintegrated into the mainline kernel (though the source is freely available if someone else wants to take it on). Maybe this will change? The other big change is their bionic libc (partly derived from bsd libc and also bsd licensed) ... similar concept to uclibc/dietlibc except for the license. ... and then there are all of the other google goodies & since they appear to be buying a company a month, the number of goodies should continue to grow ad infinitum... many of which they appear to be open sourcing (at least where it could help establish an open standard where one does not already exist)
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jamesbond

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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jul 2010, 02:36    Post subject:  

I had my first ever Linux phone was in 2004. It's a Motorola A760. Served me well until it died in early 2007, probably due to bad flash. I still have it, I still own a new battery for it.

The selling point to me at that time was "oooh, it run Linux" ! - but there is hardly anything you can do with the phone. Yeah you can install a few J2ME apps but that's about it. Despite the fact that it did run Linux kernel, everything else was Motorola's proprietary code - and I cannot found any SDK or anything which can be used to develop apps for that phone (we haven't ushered the age of "app store" then). I didn't miss it much when it finally died, except that it brought a lot of my friends with it (I can't recover the contacts Evil or Very Mad ).

I'm not an Android expert, so what follows is probably only my opinion.

1) What is Android?
Android uses Linux kernel, yes (and as technosaurus pointed out - it customises the kernel a lot "for better phone experience", which for many reasons doesn't make it to the mainline), but it uses different userspace utilities, some from BSD, some developed by Google itself - not your usual GNU userspace tools. It certainly doesn't run X server - it has its own framebuffer driver.

If I'm not wrong, earlier developers were encouraged to use Java for delivering applications (standard J2ME plus a few Android-specific libraries). Nowadays I think it's possible to compile a C program as well - but it won't be your run-off-the-mill C program, it will be specific to the Android platform (because the system libraries, the C libraries, etc are Android-specific). Which may, or may not be a problem.

So Android is definitely Linux - but it isn't GNU/Linux as it uses little (or none?) of the usual GNU and other components you usually find in standard Linux distributions.

2) Can we be root?
Whether a specific Android device is locked or not - it really depends on the OEM device manufacturer. Google Phone aka HTC Nexus is not locked, you can be root anytime although it does warn you about the danger and you void your warranty by doing so. Other devices may not play so nice - every OEM can choose whether to allow or disallow root access. Remember Linux is GPL V2, and GPL V2 doesn't protect against Tivoization (ie it's open source, you can have the source, but you can't install anything else on the device unless we say otherwise). Although, since one of the key selling point of Android is its openness, it would be a bad strategy to delivery a fully-locked Android phone Very Happy

3) Can I install my own custom kernel?
This again depends on the OEM. Android source code is available, so anyone with the right skill can compile custom kernel. That being said, whether you can install this custom kernel to the device is up to the OEM device manufacturer.

4) What about app market? That is owned by Google isn't it? So what's so different with that other phone from the fruit company?

Google owns Android Market, true, so they (as the shop owner) gets to decide what is on the shelves. But --- in contrast with the fruit company --- you are not restricted to buy your apps from the app store. The source code of Android is there, the SDK for software development is there. Anyone can create, compile programs, and install it on the phone. If you wish - you can start and create your own app store.

Note that this is also true and have been true of many other phones for many years (you can buy and install J2ME apps from many sources. Same with symbian apps. Same with blackberry apps). The only reason why there is "app store" for the fruit company is because you can't install any other software otherwise. Imagine having a laptop, where the only software you can install comes from *one* single source? I don't think so.

Happy to be corrected by those who know better.

cheers!

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nooby

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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul 2010, 03:37    Post subject:  

I had to choose between two different phones. Huawei U8100 and SonyEricson Xpire Mini Pro. The Pro had physical keyboard to use so I chosed that one. Huawei most likely will never be rooted so despite costing half price of the SE that was the one I bought.

Now can I be root. They say so in the droid forums me have visited. But it is rather complicated for a noob like me.

And one can not keep warranty so I am chicken and wait a while.

Now I only have to learn how to transfer files to and from it on Puppy.
Woudl be sad if it would only work with windows Smile

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jamesbond

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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul 2010, 07:37    Post subject:  

As far as file transfer goes, if the phone has "USB Mass Storage Mode" then you should be all right. Alternatively, you can take out the microSD card and put it into card reader for your desktop PC Very Happy
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nooby

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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul 2010, 07:42    Post subject:  

Yes they had one such in the box so that is an easy way to transfer things.

Most likely it also can behave as an usb device if I click on such button.
I have not tested it yet. I am an incredibly slow learner.

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jamesbond

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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul 2010, 08:02    Post subject:  

The fact that people have to jail-break your Xperia to "be root" and "be able to install custom kernel" only validates my note above. Android is open source, but whether the device that runs Android is open, is totally a different matter.

If I ever get an Android device, I'll probably go with one that explicitly allows root and custom kernel without having to go through contorted means (like Nexus) Very Happy

Anyway, congrats on your new phone, hope it will bring lots of joy for time to come. Are we done with this thread? Very Happy

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